Monday, March 19, 2007

Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin

'L’Esprit des Cabinotiers' - The one-of-a-kind mystery clock that literally emerges from a hatching sphere - Created for the 250th anniversary of Vacheron Constantin.

The incubating clockwork consists of a golden sphere engraved by hand according to the sky chart drawn by Robert de Vaugondy (1723-1786), cartographer and geographer to Louis XV and creator of two large globes, one celestial and the other terrestrial. The sphere is composed of eight mechanical petals symbolizing the lotus flower, which may be progressively opened by means of an extremely sophisticated spring mechanism. The keys to the mystery and its revelation are known exclusively to the one owner of the object. The automata flower delicately reveals its heart, a timepiece endowed with a wide range of functions and complications (detailed below photos). Sold at auction for nearly $2,000,000.

Technical specifications


Materials: 18-carat 750 pink gold (5N)
Diameter: 220 mm
Form and construction: Globe divided into a fixed half-sphere and 8 petals opening by means of 16 connecting rods linked to the telescopic shaft (on tiny sapphire balls) carrying the timepiece, driven by the mechanical motor housed within the base.
Finishing: The outside of the globe is in natural polished gold and features a depiction of the position of the stars on September 17th 1755 (date of the first document mentioning the existence of the House of Vacheron), decorated with a hand engraving inspired by the work of Robert de Vaugondy. The inside, enhanced by slender polished gold ribs, is finely satin-brushed.


Materials: 18-carat 750 pink gold (5N), Corundum
Diameter and thickness: 145 mm, 70 mm
Shape and construction: A cylinder and 2 sapphire crystal domes connected by a frame in 5N pink gold. An openworked support links the clock to the telescopic shaft at the centre of the sphere. Two holes for winding and time-setting are drilled into the rear dome.
Glasses: Sapphire crystal, glareproofed on both faces.


Dial material: 18-carat yellow gold
Material for appliques: 18-carat pink gold (5N)
Dial description: Silvered with special 250th anniversary hand-guilloch? motif, minute disc encircling the dial in silvered 18-carat gold with engraved indications. ?Grand feu? miniature enamelled 12-segment outer disc.


Indications & functions :
1. Hour on 12-hour display
2. Minutes
3. Deadbeat seconds
4. Hour on 24-hour display
5. Power reserve
6. Name of the day
7. Date of the day (perpetual)
8. Name of the month
9. Number of the year within the leap-year cycle
10. Equation of time
11. Age of the moon
12. Phases of the moon
13. Temperature
14. Astronomical calendar giving the position of the sun according to the Gregorian calendar. This mechanism was built on the basis of calculations by the mathematician Charles Etienne Louis CAMUS (1699-1768) and the watchmaking mechanical engineer Antide JANVIER (1751-1835).
15. Hours and quarters striking automatically in passing and on request, with the possibility of preventing the automatic striking.

Other technical characteristics:

Energy: Mechanical, twin-barrel, manual key winding
Regulating organs: Mono-metallic balance. Isochronous balance-spring ending in a Phillips curve, micrometric index (patented by Vacheron Constantin in 1884), Straight-line lever escapement with constant force system applied each second to the escape-wheel. This system precisely measures out the energy required for the regulator to perform 5 vibrations of an ideal and invariable amplitude.
Frequency: 18,000 vibrations per hour
Power reserve: Over seven days

Main dimensions:
Caging diameter: 125 mm
Total diameter: 129 mm
Total thickness: 41 mm

via The Purists --> Link
Quarter Millennieum of Vacheron Constantin auction --> Link

Related posts;
Christiaan van der Klauuw Astronomical Watches --> Link
Sethosphere Globe Clock --> Link

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